the realities facing English language students in Ireland
When Sebastian Carvallo Farina recently came to Cork to study English, he was looking forward to an exciting time in a new city far from his native Chile.
The industrial civil engineer has however found a whole other world: that of the street and couch surfing between stays in hostels, when they are not full.
For the past few weeks, Paul has been staying with someone who saw his calls on Facebook for accommodation and offered him accommodation for a few weeks until he found more permanent accommodation.
A spokesman for the Department of Higher Education said: ‘This matter has not been raised with the Department. The teaching of English in Ireland is primarily a private sector activity and the department plays no role in the accommodation of English speaking students.
In 2019, the year before the pandemic, 17,217 such visas were granted.
Until the end of March this year, 2,662 such visas had been granted.
The owner and director of Atlas English School in Dublin, Nico Dowling, says the accommodation issue is putting a lot of pressure on language schools this year.
“We are aware of the increased costs for families, which is another reason why it is so difficult to find host families. What’s going to happen is next year schools will probably raise their prices to pay families more. What has been a big seller for English language schools in Ireland is our host families because they are so welcoming.
He said a number of measures have been introduced in an effort to improve security of tenure for tenants under residential tenancies laws.
“This includes strengthened rent pressure zones which now cap rent increases at 2% per year when inflation is higher. Under the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2021, all new tenancies created on or after June 11, 2022 will become indefinite tenancies after six consecutive months of occupancy under the tenancy, without a valid notice of termination has been served.